Berkeley’s COVID-19 booster vaccination requirement for workers took effect Monday, requiring employees of many indoor businesses to prove they have received a booster if they are eligible.
The health order, which city Health Officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez issued in late January, applies to employees, contractors and volunteers at businesses in which people remove their masks to eat or drink or breathe more heavily in large groups.
Until Monday, employees at businesses like restaurants, bars, theaters, gyms, yoga studios were only required to prove that they had completed their initial vaccination series.
The booster requirement also applies to employees at indoor events of more than 500 people, health care facilities, adult care facilities and all public and private childcare providers.
Employees will be considered “up to date” on their vaccination schedule if they have completed their initial series and received a booster five months after their second Pfizer or Moderna shot or two months after their single Johnson & Johnson shot.
“We continue to move forward through the pandemic by adapting and improving upon the skills we have already learned,” Hernandez said in a statement. “Easy, safe and effective booster shots continue the incredible power of vaccines to lessen severe illness and death.”
Workers who are unvaccinated will be required to show proof of a medical condition or attest under penalty of perjury that they have a religious belief that prevents them from getting vaccinated.
Those with valid medical or religious exemptions will be required to provide negative COVID test results each week.
Hernandez’s health order also lowered the age of customers who will be required to provide proof of their vaccination status at various indoor businesses from 12 to 5.
Patrons of restaurants, gyms, theaters and other indoor businesses will be required to prove that they are at least two weeks past the completion of their initial vaccination series.
For indoor events of more than 500 people, attendees between ages 5 and 11 will be allowed to show proof of their vaccination of a negative COVID test if the event sold tickets before Jan. 27.
However, the option for young children to show a negative test for large events will go away starting March 14 under Hernandez’s order.
“Staying up to date on vaccination lowers each person’s risk of infection and severe illness while also increasing our entire community’s safety,” Hernandez said.
Information about how to get vaccinated in Berkeley can be found at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/covax.